May 13, 2012

An upcoming film festival and new incentives have filmmakers in Tennessee excited about the future.

The Knoxville 24 Hour Film Festival will kickoff in less than a month. On June 2, 30 teams will gather at the Relix Variety Theater, tasked with shooting a film on a topic yet to be announced. The teams will have only one day to complete their films.

Then, on June 16, at the Bijou Theater in downtown Knoxville, those films will be screened for the public to see.

More Information: Knoxville 24 Hour Film Festival

The festival has occurred for almost a decade.

“To sit down with an audience of 600 people and see your film screened on a massive screen, it’s an experience like nothing else,” said Michael Samstag, executive director of the Knoxville 24 Hour Film Festival.

He said the films crews produce are typically top-notch.

“People in 24 hours make films as good as people who have unlimited time,” he said.

The film festival comes on the heels of news out of Nashville that the state will now offer an extra $2 million in incentives to people who make movies in Tennessee.

Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, sponsored legislation that repeal the refundable tax credit filmmakers used to apply for under state law to receive money.

Now, filmmakers can go straight to the Tennessee Film, Entertainment, and Music Commission (TFEMC) to get funds. TFEMC is now in charge of the additional $2 million that was created through Norris’ legislative move.

“We recognize the importance of the film industry not only to the economy of the state but to the welfare of countless Tennesseans whose livelihoods depend on it,” Norris said. “This new program simplifies, streamlines and strengthens our commitment to the film industry.”

The incentives package will also provide more help to filmmakers who produce independent films in Tennessee. Under the state’s old incentive program, filmmakers creating movies with budgets of $1 million or more, were the only individuals eligible to apply for film tax credits.

The new film incentive program will allow filmmakers creating projects with budgets of $200,000 or more to apply for grants equal to 25 percent of the money they spend in Tennessee.

Actor/Producer Curt Willis just finished filming “Lucifer’s Fall”, a psychological thriller about a woman’s decision to commit murder, in South Knoxville this March.

More Information: Lucifer’s Fall

He said the incentives will provide filmmakers the help they need to produce movies in Tennessee.

“It will help with finishing funds, [and] it will help with getting films shot around here,” Willis said.

He said the new incentives were “a long time coming.”

“I’m glad they [legislators] finally saw the value in it,” he said.

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